Advisor Products provides secure portals to more than 75,000 clients of RIAs and has nearly five years of experience in this arcane new software category.
The key, we’ve learned, is in making it easy for clients.
Content provided in client portals -- personal data -- is inherently compelling. But ease of access is important.
AdvisorVault automatically notifies a client whenever his advisor uploads a document. That puts an unprecedented amount of personal financial information at clients’ fingertips.
You’re not sending clients “canned” information. It’s about their accounts, their wealth. Clients care about that.
Your clients are not morons. They know AdvisorVault notifications provide important and personal financial information. Some clients check data daily, but most check it once a month or less.
Knowing the information is there is what’s important to clients. Telling clients the information will always be there is good marketing for advisors. It's a good way of doing business.
To notify clients whenever new personal information becomes available, AdvisorVault contains an email communication module for authoring and automatically sending “template emails.”
Template emails generated in AdvisorVault include your logo and come from your personal email address. They are captured by your email archive system.
The body of the text of every template email in AdvisorVault is personalized to each client. John Smith gets a “Dear John Smith” email with a personalized URL to log into his personal portal.
The screenshot above shows 16 template emails included with AdvisorVault. They cover common activities of advisors using client vaults. For example, when an advisor uploads a document, the email at the top of the list, “Advisor Document Upload,” can be sent automatically.
Setting up an automatic email notification is easy for an advisor. In the screenshot above, each of the email templates checked off will be sent automatically.
Whenever you add a new client vault or reset a client’s password, for example, a template email can be sent automatically.
Template emails can be sent automatically in batch or one at a time. If you change all of your clients’ passwords or upload a document for all of your clients, for instance, all of them can be sent an email notification.
You can create your own template emails and save them. If you batch upload clients’ brokerage statements, for example, you can write an email and that will be automatically sent.
While unbridled transparency may not fit your style currently, those who practice this way are likely to find transparency a marketing advantage as well as the right thing to do.
This is where the world is headed. Full-disclosure is your friend. It’s what fiduciaries do.
You can be the guy who makes information available to clients over the Web. Or not.
If not, those embracing transparency will be happy to compete against you.
Client portals are not consumer apps. They’re best made specifcally for advisor clients. Email templates is just one feature of many enabled by AdvisorVault that advisors won’t get from consumer apps like Dropbox and FileShare, which are being promoted by some consultants who don’t have our experience in client communications.
Data from portfolio management, CRM, and professional applications can’t be integrated into consumers apps. With 50 million users, integration with your PMS system is not a high priority to DropBox. It is a high priority in AdvisorVault.
Batch Process Any File
AdvisorVault recently launched an app that lets you batch process any file you get in a batch. If you get 1099s, brokerage statements, tax returns, or any other documents in batch, you can batch upload them to AdvisorVault. And a notification can be sent to them automatically.
For Methodical Advisors Only
AdvisorVault is not for everyone. Advisors who know they won't foillow up with setting up clients with vaults and using template emails are not well-suited for it. It’s only for advisors with an attention span long enough to facilitate following through with a plan. Sorry to be so glib, but this needs to be mentioned because I've seen a good number of financial advisors that have little discipline to follow through with implementing new techniology.
New features we’re planning to deliver in the next 12 months will allow you to deliver clients a Form ADV, provide “star” reports on mutual funds, and enable clients to sign account documents digitally.
We also plan to deliver personalized news we produce via a client’s vault so you can better address behavioral finance issues in times of volatility. We also plan to integrate with consumer vaults like DropBox so advisors can easily move documents from popular consumer apps for file sharing to our system for professionals.